MOTIVATION: Never be disabled by the past

14 Jun, 2015 - 00:06 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

The size of your struggles should not be your title to depression. Inside every struggling person there is a giant that is seeking expression.

Never let your station of today lead you to think that there is no future or reality beyond what you have seen or experienced.

Inside every struggling organisation there is a giant global entity that is struggling to be unleashed. Never confuse birth pains with abortion. Do not let what you do not know dissuade you from dreaming and discourage you from taking humble, determined action.

The future is too precious to be trashed by temporary difficulties. The future has not been fashioned in the image of the past. You may not have experience and this could be your advantage because you can think in new ways and see different possibilities.

The experienced could easily be too wedded to the past to see different realities.

Beware of facts

Dare to think and do, dream and act. Facts are a testament of the past but never a prophesy of the future. Beware of people that tell you that something cannot be done simply because they do not know of anyone who has done it.

In 1899, Charles H Duel, commissioner of the US patent office, is reported to have said: “Everything that can be invented has been invented, the world is coming to an end.” It was this commissioner who knew better than anyone that the industrial revolution was a time of innovation and change. Change always comes.

What is exciting and thrilling today will always look dull tomorrow. Mr Duel should have been blinded by the past that he thought the end was nigh.

He did not see that four years later the Wright brothers’ airplane would be in the air, nine years later the Model-T and the first assembly line manufacturing technique will be in operation.

Certainly, he never dreamt that he would see the radio, television, atomic power, microwaves, the internet, computers, social media or thousands of other inventions which are common place today.

Never get so buried in the problems of today, that you think that the there will be no tomorrow. Never also amplify your importance too much to think that the world will stop when you stop helping it move forward. Every day is an opportunity to serve, dream and see possibilities.

There is more that has not been done, than what has been done. You have potential beyond your wildest guess. In you lies powers that you are not aware of and possibilities that you have not tapped.

Keep knocking until the egg cracks, keep dialling until you catch the signal, keep dreaming until you awake to new reality.

Good Old Smithy

Ian Douglas Smith was born April 8, 1919 in Shurugwi and died November 20, 2007 in Cape Town, South Africa. He wished and thought that majority rule was an impossible and unworkable utopia.

Good Old Smithy was the first locally-born prime minister of the then British colony of Southern Rhodesia, a radical and ardent advocate of white minority rule.

Smith attended local schools and proceeded to Rhodes University in South Africa. He interrupted his studies in 1939 to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter pilot in The Second World War. He was shot down twice and after his first downing he had to have his face reconstructed.

He did not give up though or stop flying. After the war, he rejoined Rhodes University to complete his Bachelor in Commerce degree studies. On returning to Southern Rhodesia, Smith was elected to the Southern Rhodesian Assembly in 1948.

He joined the governing Federal Party when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed in 1953. He was outspoken and took radical positions. Beliefs should be held dearly but changed when they need to be. Not for Iron Man Ian, as his friends called him. 1958, Smith had become chief whip in Parliament.

In 1961, when the Federalists supported a new constitution allowing for greater representation of black Africans in parliament, Smith resigned and with other radicals founded the Rhodesian Front, attracting white-supremacist support.

Always ask who is supporting you and where you are rowing to. Smith took a hard line stance and promising independence from Britain and a government based on the white minority, his party won a surprise victory in the election of 1962.

The Federation was dissolved in 1963.

In April 1964, Smith became prime minister of Southern Rhodesia. He did not wait long to take action and deliver on his promises. His first official act was to authorise the arrest and detention of four leading black African nationalists.

The disorders that followed were suppressed with police action. He proceeded to detain the likes of Robert Mugabe for ten years and many other nationalist leaders. You can arrest people, but you can never arrest their potential, kill their imagination and tame their will.

He should have known that.

On November 11, 1965, Smith unilaterally declared Rhodesia’s independence along the lines of the revolt of the American Colonies in 1776, giving rise to the Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

Great Britain viewed this as a rebellion, leading to the imposition of economic sanctions.

A skewed referendum open to predominantly the white electorate was held in Rhodesia on June 20, 1969 and passed the adoption of a constitution that enshrined political power in the hands of the white minority and established Rhodesia as a republic. Subsequently, on March 2, 1970, Rhodesia declared itself a republic.

The Patriotic Front, a coalition of nationalist guerrillas led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, prosecuted a bitter armed struggle from the early 1970s on.

The guerrillas conducted their activities from bases in Mozambique and Zambia.

Their activities were met with vigorous retaliatory measures by the Rhodesian armed forces who had to resort in some cases to chemical warfare and other merciless tactics.

As the war escalated, the economy suffered and Good Old Smithy was compelled finally in 1977 to negotiate an internal settlement with purportedly moderate black leaders and initiated a limited power transfer, culminating in the establishment of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979, with Bishop Abel Muzorewa as Prime Minister.

Following the Lancaster House conference and constitution, Zimbabwe finally became independent and voting was open to the wide majority in 1980.

Smith continued to serve in Parliament until 1987. Unrepentant till the end, he stuck to his old beliefs and nothing would change his views till his death.

Throughout his leadership tenure and in various platforms, Ian Smith vowed that there would never be majority rule in Zimbabwe. He declared that this would never happen in his lifetime, not in a hundred years or even a thousand years. Never hold on to the past so tightly that you can not see new possibilities. Refusing to change causes untold suffering for many.

Pursue your dreams and be focused. Be open to change when you need to. Never let anyone discourage you from pursuing your dreams. Think bigger and act bolder. Never let anyone say never to you. Refuse to accept as fact the mere opinions of other people.

Blind CEO

On April 30, 2007 Steve Ballmer, then Microsoft CEO, was interviewed by USA Today’s David Lieberman at the 6th USA Today CEO Forum. Apple had just announced that it was going to launch its iPhone. Steve Ballmer confidently stated that iPhone was a joke.

He said that he would not trade his 96 percent of the market for 4 percent of the market. He felt that the iPhone would never take off because it was an inefficient email machine because it did not have a touch pad.

This was Steve Ballmer, the 24th employee to join Microsoft, a graduate of Harvard, President of Microsoft from 1998 and CEO from 2000. He did not miss a beat or mince his words when he said: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a US$500 subsidised item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1,3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of them, than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get.”

In a few years, Ballmer had to eat his words because the iPhone business is now bigger than the whole Microsoft business.

Such is the liability of experience.

Never get too married to your past achievements that you do not see that you are now standing on shifting sand and an organisational model that has lost relevance. Never be so overcome with pride and massaging your ego that your eyes are masked from the future.


Experience Burden


Experience is what gets you through the door. Unguarded, experience could also close the door to your creativity, perception and imagination. Never let the past take so much of today that you cannot think creatively about the future.

Memory is an unreliable tool for strategic thinking. Sticking with what has worked in the past leaves you doing the unnecessary and the long abandoned. To fight yesterday’s battles today is to suffer needlessly.

Try something new, think something different, dare to break the glass ceiling and go beyond the limits that other people have imposed on you.

Ask some upstream questions, remembering that only dead fish swim with the current and accept things as they are. Raise questions that inspire creativity and launch you to new journeys of greatness. Think of problems that do not as yet exist. Compete not on beautification of the past but for the future.

To be relevant only in the past is to be the museum of the future. Refuse to let anyone take you off the shelf of life before your “sell-by” date.

You are only limited when you limit yourself. Dare to be exposed, the world you see determines the limits you assume.

Life is too precious for you to expire while you are living.

Never be afraid to be inexperienced, just be afraid to stop trying.

Inexperience erases fear and jettisons philosophic arguments. When you are inexperienced you do not know what is possible and what is impossible.

If the two are no different, then everything is possible.

Dare to do great things, challenge your limits and work with determination.

Do not worry too much about breaking other people’s records, break yours. Express your purpose, live your dream. Its too early to be obsessed with dying.


Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy and innovation consultant and leadership coach. He can be reached at [email protected] and on WhatsApp number 0772422634

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